Thou art an ass, replied one of the thieves; three quarts of double ale had rendered thee as free as thy master, ay, and freer too, if he be a Saxon, like thyself.
A sad truth, replied Gurth; but if these same thirty zecchins will buy my freedom from you, unloose my hands, and I will pay them to you.
Hold, said one who seemed to exercise some authority over the others; this bag which thou bearest, as I can feel through thy cloak, contains more coin than thou hast told us of.
It is the good knight my masters, answered Gurth, of which, assuredly, I would not have spoken a word, had you been satisfied with working your will upon mine own property.
Thou art an honest fellow, replied the robber, I warrant thee; and we worship not St. Nicholas so devoutly but what thy thirty zecchins may yet escape, if thou deal uprightly with us. Meantime render up thy trust for a time. So saying, he took from Gurths breast the large leathern pouch, in which the purse given him by Rebecca was enclosed, as well as the rest of the zecchins, and then continued his interrogation.Who is thy master?
The Disinherited Knight, said Gurth.
Whose good lance, replied the robber, won the prize in to-days tourney? What is his name and lineage?
It is his pleasure, answered Gurth, that they be concealed; and from me, assuredly, you will learn nought of them.
What is thine own name and lineage?
To tell that, said Gurth, might reveal my masters.
Thou art a saucy groom, said the robber, but of that anon. How comes thy master by this gold? Is it of his inheritance, or by what means hath it accrued to him?
By his good lance, answered Gurth. These bags contain the ransom of four good horses, and four good suits of armour.
How much is there? demanded the robber.
Two hundred zecchins.
Only two hundred zecchins! said the bandit; your master hath dealt liberally by the vanquished, and put them to a cheap ransom. Name those who paid the gold.
Gurth did so.
The armour and horse of the Templar Brian de Bois-Guilbert, at what ransom were they held? Thou seest thou canst not deceive me.
My master, replied Gurth, will take nought from the Templar save his lifes blood. They are on terms of mortal defiance, and cannot hold courteous intercourse together.
Indeed! repeated the robber, and paused after he had said the word. And what wert thou now doing at Ashby with such a charge in thy custody?
I went thither to render to Isaac the Jew of York, replied Gurth, the price of a suit of armour with which he fitted my master for this tournament.
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